Vadarna literary analysis
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The “Ibong Adarna”, which was the play adapted from is a kind of fantasy epic. It is because it involves magic, mythological creatures. The theatrical adaptation of “Adarna” can be deduced as a melodrama that has some elements of comedy into it, maybe, an attempt from the production team to make the story of the play not too serious, as it was on the literary version. It contains the elements found in melodramas, like the hero, who is most of the time, fearless (like Don Juan), heroine, or the romantic interest of the hero; usually the one that the hero saves (portrayed by Donya Leonora, Donya Juana, and Donya Maria Blanca), villain, who, usually likes the heroine too (in this case, Don Pedro, and King Salermo, although he is the heroine’s father in the book two of the story) and villain’s sidekick (that typically gets in the way of or annoys the villain). The play appeals to the emotions of the audience to make it more “dramatic”. It also features musical numbers throughout the play (after all, the Adarna bird is supposed to sing ).
In the part one of the theatrical adaptation of the epic “Ibong Adarna”, the events are set in a fictional kingdom called Berbania. It is where some of the main characters of the story came from. The tree of Pierdas Platas in Mount Tabor is where the Adarna nests. It also includes Armenia, where the magical well is located, where Don Juan, the protagonist found and rescued Donya Juana and her sister, Donya Leonora.
In the part two of the story, the events are now set in the kingdom of Reyno de Los Cristales (literally meaning ‘Kingdom of Crystals’), which is ruled by King Salermo. It is where Don Juan found Donya Maria Blanca and fell in love with her. After a series of challenges made by King Salermo to Don Juan, the protagonist and Donya Maria Blanca returned to Berbania to introduce his newfound love to his parents.
A. Major characters
Don Juan – the protagonist in the story. The youngest of the three sons of King Fernando and Reyna Valeriana. He is the favorite son of the king among his brother; this makes Don Pedro envious of him.
King Fernando – the king of Berbania. He is the father of Don Juan who found the mythical bird Adarna.
Queen Valeriana – the queen of Berbania. She is the mother of Don Juan.
Don Pedro – the eldest of the three sons of King Fernando and Reyna Valeriana. He always envies his brother Don Juan for being the favorite son of his father, King Fernando.
Don Diego – the second born son of King Fernando and Reyna Valeriana. He has no decision of his own, and always follows what his older brother prince told him to do.
Donya Leonora – one of two “princesses” found by Don Juan at the bottom of the well. Also one of love interest of Don Juan in the story.
Donya Juana – one of two “princesses” found by Don Juan at the bottom of the well. She is the elder sister of Donya Leonora, one of love interests of Don Juan in the story.
Donya Maria Blanca – the princess of the kingdom of Reyno de Los Cristales. Daughter of King Salermo, this princess is one of love interests of Don Juan in the story.
King Salermo – the king and ruler of the kingdom of Reyno de Los Cristales. Father of Donya Maria Blanca, he set the challenges for Don Juan as a way of proving the young prince worthy of his daughter’s love.
B. Minor characters.
Medico (the medic) – the person assigned to cure King Fernando’s mysterious illness. He is the one who told the king that hearing the lullaby sung by the mythical bird called Adarna is the only way to cure their father’s illness, as it is said that those sick people who hear the bird sing its lullaby recovers from any illness.
Old Hermit (Ermitanyo) – The one who advised Don Juan on how to successfully capture the mythical bird Adarna.
The Giant – the one the holds Donya Juana in captivity. Slayed by Don Juan to rescue Donya Juana.
Serpiente – a magical serpent with seven heads. The one who holds Donya Leonora in captivity. Slayed by Don Juan with the aid of Donya Leonora in order to rescue the latter.
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom named, Berbania. It was ruled by King Fernando and Queen Valeriana who had three sons – Don Pedro (first born), Don Diego (second) and Don Juan (the youngest). One night, King Fernando had a bad dream. He saw that his youngest son and his favorite, Don Juan was thrown away in a deep well. The King started to get sick for unknown reasons. The medics tried to bring the King to his normal being, but to no avail. His medic (Medico) told him that the only way for him to get back to normal being is to hear a lullaby sung by a mythical bird called Adarna found in Mount Tabor. So King Fernando tasked his firstborn son to hunt for the said bird. Don Pedro went first and he reached the tree of Pierdas Platas, but he did not know that this is the tree where the Adarna nests during the night, and when the bird sung its lullaby, the prince fell asleep. When the bird finished singing its lullaby, it pooped on Don Pedro and therefore turning him into stone. The second prince, Don Diego went to hunt next. Unfortunately, he had the same unfortunate fate like his older brother. The kingdom was counting on Don Juan, so he went next.
The youngest prince has climbed through Mount Tabor. On the way, he met an old hermit (or Ermitanyo) which he helped, and in return, gave him tips about the magical tree of Piedras Platas and catching the Adarna bird. Don Juan successfully caught the bird and helped his two brothers to be human again. Because of envy towards their young brother, Don Pedro and Don Diego conspired to beat Don Juan to death and the two then returned home with the Adarna. However, the king’s illness went worse because the bird, which saw the two princes what they did to Don Juan, never sang a single song. Fortunately, Don Juan has been healed by the old hermit he helped in the mountain and came back to Berbania. King Fernando has known the truth when the bird started singing after seeing Don Juan and the king went well and stronger than ever. He wanted to punish his two sons but Don Juan asked his father to just forgive them for the sake of their family. The King granted his request and asked the three princes to guard the Adarna bird during the night. But instead of taking turns in guarding the bird, Don Pedro and Don Diego tasked Don Juan to guard the bird alone, making him tired and eventually fell asleep.
The two princes connived again to free the bird in an attempt to put Don Juan into bad light by letting the bird escape. Don Juan went away from the kingdom so the king won’t punish his brother. King Fernando asked the two princes to look for Don Juan. They found him in Armenia. They decided to live there. One day they found an interesting well. Only Don Juan went down inside successfully. He found two lovely princesses, Donya Juana and Donya Leonora which is held captive by a giant and a magical serpent. Because of his skills in fighting, the mighty prince has killed the giant and the serpent and saved the two princesses. Don Pedro again, envied his young brother. When Donya Leonora asked Don Juan to retrieve the princess’ ring she forgot inside the well, Don Juan obliged and went back into the well. But Don Pedro cut the rope tied to Don Juan, leaving him no chance to get back up above. The two brothers returned to Berbania with the two princesses. Donya Juana eventually fell in love with Don Diego and they got married. On the other hand, Don Pedro did everything to woo Donya Leonora but to no avail because the princess loves Don Juan so much. Meanwhile, an enchanted fox helped Don Juan and was healed. The Adarna bird appeared suddenly and told him about the princess of Reyno de Los Cristales, the woman destined for the young prince. He rode an eagle and flew to the magical kingdom. He immediately searched for the princess and found Donya Maria Blanca, bathing in a pool. The young prince immediately fell in love with the princess, but her father, King Salermo insists that the young prince must first prove himself worthy of her daughter’s love.
In spite of the “impossible” challenges the cruel king has given him, he faced them all and succeeded with the help of Donya Maria Blanca who eventually fell in love with the young prince. Because of this, the king got mad, and the two lovers tried to flee Reyno de Los Cristales. Donya Maria Blanca was cursed by his father to be forgotten by the prince Don Juan. The two planned to return to Berbania separately, with Don Juan going first so that he can arrange a welcoming party for Donya Maria Blanca which the princess agreed. Don Juan has returned to Berbania where he was welcomed by his mother, Queen Valeriana and Princess Leonora. He has forgotten about Maria Blanca because of Princess Leonora. Don Juan and Princess Leonora were scheduled to wed. At the day of the wedding, Donya Maria Blanca visited wearing the “emperatris”. She tried to bring back all the memories and remind Don Juan about their love. Finally, Don Juan remembered Donya Maria Blanca, their struggles at the hands of King Salermo’s challenges to Don Juan, and their love for each other. Don Juan decided to marry Donya Maria Blanca, while Don Pedro who waited a long time for Donya Leonora to give his love for the princess a chance failed in winning Donya Leonora’s heart and the princess, together with Donya Juana left the kingdom of Berbania. Don Juan returned to Reyno de Los Cristales with Donya Maria Blanca to spend the rest of their lives as the new king and queen of Reyno de Los Cristales.
VIII. Point of View.
I could say that the story of the “Adara” is mostly in 3rd person point of view, with some exceptions of the narrations done by the narrator in some parts of the story. The plot is unfolding as the play goes on, as what I’ve seen in the play.
a. Major Conflicts
1. The hunting for Adarna – this task was first assigned to Don Pedro, then Don Diego, but they failed in capturing the mythical bird. Only Don Juan successfully captured Adarna. Because of this, his two brothers conspired in get ridding of their young brother out of their envy. However, the old hermit whom Don Juan helped earlier treated his injuries and the prince went back to Berbania. Because the bird witnessed what the two “evil” brothers did to Don Juan, it later told in the palace what really took place in the mountains and King Fernando wants to punish his two sons, but Don Juan requests his father not to, as for the sake of their own family which his father obliged.
2. The challenges by King Salermo to Don Juan – the series of challenges imposed by King Salermo to Don Juan is almost impossible to accomplish, without the help of Donya Maria Blanca.
3. The supposed wedding of Don Juan and Donya Leonora – after returning from Reyno de Los Cristales, Don Juan is set to marry Donya Leonora, who waited for years for the young prince to come back to Berbania. But at the wedding ceremony, Donya Maria Blanca shows up and reminded Don Juan (through a “magic 3D powepoint presentation”) of their hardships with Donya Maria Blanca, and their love. Don Juan is suddenly confronted with a problem, who is he going to marry among the two princesses. Don Juan ended up marrying Donya Maria Blanca and the newly-wed couple returned to Reyno de Los Cristales and ruled the kingdom which the princess inherited the throne from King Salermo.
b. Minor Conflicts
1. Rescuing the two princesses from the well – Don Juan found Donya Juana first, being held captive by a giant. He slayed the giant and freed Donya Juana, but she told the young prince that her sister, Donya Leonora was being held by a magical serpent. So the young prince went back down the well to fight the serpent holding Donya Leonora and rescues the princess after slaying the serpent.
a. Sibling Rivalry
King Fernando has three sons, of which, Don Juan was his favorite. Because of this, Don Pedro and Don Diego got envious of their young brother, and always find ways to discredit so that their young brother would be blame if anything wrong happens (like the Adarna “escaping” out of its cage). When Don Juan succeeded in capturing the Adarna, his two brothers connived to get rid of Don Juan while trying to get the credit for capturing the bird. However, the old man whom Don Juan helped while on his way to the Mount Tabor helped him and treated his injuries, enabling him to return to Berbania.
b. Triumph of Good over Evil
I could say that the serpent holding Donya Leonora in the “world at bottom of the well” represent evil in the book 1 of the story. As we all know, serpents are usually associated with evil in literature (like the story of the serpent who tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden which is found in The Bible). In the story of “Adarna”, the serpent had magical powers than enables it to grow the head that was previously chopped down. To save the princess, Don Juan killed the serpent with the help of a magical blade given to him by Donya Leonora.
In the book 2 of the “Adarna”, King Salermo gave Don Juan seven tests in order to prove that the young prince is worthy of Donya Maria Blanca, the king’s daughter. However, the tests given to him were humanely impossible, like moving mountains in a day. But Don Juan eventually succeeded in accomplishing the tests given to him, with the help of Donya Maria Blanca and her magic, but King Salermo still refuses to let this daughter marry the young prince. Don Juan and Donya Maria Blanca eloped, but King Salermo cursed Don Juan for him to forget the princess, and the times they spent together at Reyno de Los Cristales. However, Don Juan was able to remember Donya Maria Blanca when the princess attended the supposed wedding of Don Juan and Donya Leonora, by bringing his memories of their love for each other and the times of hardships they spent together. In the end, Don Juan bid his parents goodbye and went with Donya Maria Blanca back to Reyno de Los Cristales to rule the kingdom the princess inherited from his father.
c. Love and Faithfulness
Don Juan has this trait that makes him fall in love easily with beautiful women. After seeing Donya Juana in distress, he immediately rescued her from the giant, which made the two fell in love really fast. However, when told by Donya Juana that her sister, Donya Leonora was still in “the world at the bottom of the well”, Don Juan went back down and found Donya Leonora. Don Juan also fell in love with this princess for she is indeed beautiful. Eventually, Don Juan settled with Donya Leonora, and Donya Juana went to Don Diego’s arms. When Don Juan arrived at Reyno de Los Cristales, he saw Donya Maria Blanca bathing in a swimming pool and felt love at first sight of the beautiful princess. He faced the tests given to him by King Salermo to prove that the prince is worthy of the princess’s love. Donya Maria Blanca eventually fell in love with the young prince and even eloped King Salermo and Reyno de Los Cristales to return to Berbania. However, the curse of King Salermo on the couple took effect when he returned to Berbania. The young prince is set to marry Donya Leonora who he left behind years ago, but Donya Maria Blanca tried to restore Don Juan’s memories with her and succeeded. Don Juan eventually chose to be with Donya Maria Blanca, after realizing the he and Donya Maria Blanca spent the good times and the bad while they were in Reyno de Los Cristales.
The play “Adarna” by Vlad Gonzales tells a story a bit different from its literary counterpart. However, the morals of the story remain the same. It tells us that in the end, the good guys triumph over evil, to decide by following what’s in your heart, and to be faithful. The scene at the wedding ceremony where Don Juan is set to marry Donya Leonora, when Donya Maria Blanca arrived is the part of the story that struck me the most. This scene made me realize that a person must follow what’s in his/her heart, and not what the people around him tells him what to do.